Tuesday, October 22, 2013
US bank 2013
The first race of the season was US bank 2013. I went 13:21 in '12, and was shooting for 10% faster this year, or 12:00. In june, Inspired by crossfit cardio, I started doing almost entirely HIT workouts: 12 minute climbs ( on the stairmaster ) at race intensity 3 times a week. The previous year, i had mostly done various workouts, running, biking, 2-4 yoga classes in a row. A lot of these workouts were pretty easy, long and slow, and I started the stair sprints (half on real stairs) about 1 month before the race, panicked i'd waited too long. But i quickly got into shape, and did the race about 2 minutes faster than i thought i would, finishing solidly in the middle of the elite pack.
Now, I wasn't reviewing my previous year's times, just going hard 3x a week, so i thought i was doing pretty well, quickly building up to 140 steps a minute for 12 minutes. About 6 weeks out, i planned to add 1 step a minute twice a week, so i'd hit the race at 152 steps a minute.
But this was harder than i thought! I made good initial progress, but soon couldn't complete the gradually harder workouts. About 4 weeks before the race, i woke up feeling really shitty, hopped on the stairmaster, and had to quit after a few minutes--i just couldn't climb any more. A day or two later, i had a full-blown flu. Now, i'm normally one of those people who never gets sick, but i didn't feel this flu was out of my system for about 3.5 weeks! For 2 of those weeks cardio simply didn't seem possible. Now, after the fact, i'm sure this was just my body reacting to 3 months of race intensity workouts three times a week.
Looking a the previous year's training, after doing lots of long, slow, varied workouts all summer, i started at 130 steps a minute for my first climb, then quickly jumped to 135, then 138, then 142, peaking at 150 right before the race, all these sessions at least 3 days apart, sometimes 4 or 5. So i made a lot more progress on fewer workouts, with the broader base i'd built.
But, US bank was coming no matter what. At the start line, i realized i was totally mentally disengaged. I'd not bothered to unpack my gloves, didn't have my audio track ready, hadn't really sorted out my nutrition, and i even forgot my heart rate monitor. But i was at the start line, and when i was my turn, i had to go! I had no idea how to pace myself, and the entire race felt out of sync. My time was 13:49, 28 seconds slower than last year. So, maybe if i'd been in a better mental state, or even had my timing track, i could have come in a few seconds quicker than the previous year, though for sure, 12 was out of reach. I should have been faster, i came in a lot stronger and leaner, but those cardio reserves simply weren't there. So, a year of hard training and big goals, and i'd pretty much laid an egg.
So the lesson is clear, burnout can be a real problem. I'm returning to a more varied workout program, getting back to the sculpt yoga ( like a bodypump class ) with spinning, running, 1-2 hour stair slogs, and at most, a race simulation climb every 6-7 days. Come race season, the races themselves will be my race training climbs. My goal now is to peak for strat, and have a good result in that race. As i write this, sears tower is 12 days away. I'm going to do my best in that race, but i don't think my summer goal of 17:00 is anywhere close to realistic. I think i'll shoot for 11 seconds a floor ( 18:42 ) and just adjust during the race based on how i feel.